(CACFP - Child Adult Care Food Program)

Successful completion of this Programmed Learning Packet will provide you with one half hour of training.  This training programmed has tried to duplicate the paper version that is given to each employee, in order to avoid any confusion concerning this very important policy or procedures.

Objectives: 1. Provide specific policies and procedures directly related to Head Start Centers.
  2. Provide specific USDA guidelines which must be adhered to in order to qualify for this funding.
  3. Relate the specifics of policy and procedure to the educational goals for our children.
  4. Provide staff with specific guidelines for communications with parents and volunteers as related to our child nutrition standards.


  A. Children should participate in pre-meal activities such as, cleaning and setting the table for breakfast, lunch and snack on a rotating basis.  Staff, parents and/or volunteers shouldn’t be solely responsible for setting the table, except for children ages birth to 2 years of age.
  B. Teach children to use fork, knife, and spoon.  Utensils should include fork and spoon daily. 
  C. The teacher should serve his/her plate first.  The teacher at the table is the role model for passing pouring and serving of all foods. Teachers are required to eat lunch with children, except for Early Head Start teachers.
  D. Teachers must closely watch children to instruct and remind them how to pass food and serve themselves appropriate size servings. The teacher and child must share the same menu when possible.  If the teacher warrants a different menu, it must be explained to the children.
  E.  Quiet time should be scheduled before the meal so that children come to the table relaxed and ready to eat.
  F. Pleasant table conversation about children’s experiences should be encouraged.  Talk about personal dislikes of food should be discouraged.
  G. Children should be allowed sufficient time to finish their food approximately 30 minutes.  Daily activity schedule must reflect 30 minutes intervals.(i.e. breakfast is served  at 8:30 lunch 12:00 and snack 3:00.)
  H.  If a child refuses a food, offer it again at some time in the future.  Do not keep pestering the child.
  I.  Do not force or require children to clean their plates.
  J. Do not require children to finish a particular food before having seconds of another food item. 
  K. A particular food cannot be withheld from a child for not eating another food item.
  L. Do not give sticker or reward children who eat all their food.
  M.  Salt, sugar or other seasonings may not be on the tables or added to food in front of the children.
  N. All food items are to be served at one time and the children may start with any food they prefer.
  O. All children upon arrival should be instructed to come to the table for breakfast.  If a child eats any component of the breakfast meal he/she should be counted on the Alternate Daily Meal Count and Attendance Record.
  P. Children should be awake and ready to eat snack at 3:00 p.m.
  Q. Infants must be fed on demand.



  A. Review menu daily with children.
  B.  Be sure correct menu is posted and dated correctly each week.
  C.  Menu changes must be documented on all menus.



  A. Must be posted in the kitchen and classroom.
  B. Schedule must be adhered. If lunch states 12:00-12:30, then serving bowls and utensils should be on the table and ready to eat by 12:00. 
  C. Meal schedules cannot be changed at the Center level without the approval of the CACFP Contractor.

Test Questions:

1.  True  False Children should participate in pre-meal activities, such as setting the table, based on good behavior.

2.  True  False The teacher should serve her or his plate first.

3.  True  False If a teacher has a different menu than the children, the need for this must be explained to the children.

4.  True  False It is appropriate to strongly encourage children to eat all that is on their plate.
5.  True  False Do not reward children who eat all their food.
6.  True  False Menus must be posted each month.
7.  True  False Nutrition activities must occur weekly and be documented on the lesson plan.
8.  True  False Nuts, grapes and seeds are encouraged in moderation.



  A. A nutrition activity must occur weekly and documented on the lesson plan.  The nutrition activity book is in your center and it should be used.
  B. Plan classroom activities with the meal schedule in mind. Do not serve large amounts of food prior to lunch.  You may serve the food at snack time.  Classroom activities do not have to be a cooking activity.
  C. Entire meals for holidays or celebrations cannot be prepared in the classroom (i.e. Black history month, Cinco de Mayo etc.)  These activities must be planned as a group and prepared in the kitchen.
  D.  Introduce foods not well accepted by the children, as well as cultural and ethnic foods.
  E. Avoid popcorn, nuts, grapes and seeds for activities.  This may cause choking.
  F. Food for nutrition activities may be purchased from our food vendor if the following guidelines are met:
1) Nutrition Specialist approves nutrition activity.
2)  Inform Nutrition Specialist and Cook of needed food items one week in advance.



  A. An allergy chart, which identifies those children that cannot eat a particular food for medical or religious reasons, must be posted in a visible area in the classroom and kitchen.  A cover sheet must be placed over the allergy chart in both the classroom and kitchen.
  B. The allergy chart should include the child’s name and the food item to be avoided.  Do not include medical problems on the chart. For example: asthma.
  C. If there are not any allergies in your classroom, you must write NKA (no known allergies) on your allergy chart.
  D. If a parent informs a teacher of an allergy, the teacher must inform the cook.  The cook in turn will notify the Nutrition Specialist immediately.  The Nutrition Specialist will speak with the parent and document the information in the child’s health record.




Teachers eating at the center must eat with the children, serving as role models, except for Early Head Start teachers.  Meal count must be taken at the point of meal service.  Teachers are required to eat lunch with the children.  Breakfast and snack are prepared for children only.  Support Staff will not be counted in the daily meal counts. Volunteers are always considered as documented Program Adults. Nutrition Specialists are required to monitor the meal service and must eat with the children weekly.  Adults must be counted in the program meal section on the meal production records.


A classroom attendance sheet must be completed for each room each day and turned into central office monthly. The Site Manager/ Coordinator must review and sign the Meal Count and Attendance Record before submitting records to the cook.  This procedure should take place at the beginning of each week. The Nutrition Specialist will review all USDA records daily for completeness and accuracy.

  D. CACFP records are due on the last day of the month to the Nutrition Specialist. The records are due to the Food and Nutrition Manager on first work day after the end of each month.




  *Once a month the cook  must prepare a cake to celebrate Birthdays.   The birthday cake must be served at snack and served as an addition with the required snack requirement.

FYI:        Icing and candles may be used for the celebrations.  Parents may bring party favors.  Use icing in MODERATION.  Children must brush their teeth immediately following the snack when cake is served.


      *Parents are not allowed to bring food into the center to be served to other Head Start


*Candy or foods with sugar listed as the first ingredient should not be served in the center for the


*Food needed for holiday celebrations can be provided by an outside vendor if the following guidelines are met:

1)       Must be a caterer.

2)       Food must be prepared by a registered Food Service Manager.

3)       Must be served during snack time.

4).      Must have the approval of the the Nutrition Specialist.





     CACFP funds can not be used to purchase food for parent meetings.  There is a budget line for each center to cover this cost. 




  A. Food purchased by HEAD START OF GREATER DALLAS can not be taken home by staff.
  B. Cooks can not prepare additional food to serve to support staff unless support staff is eating with the children.    Meals eaten by support staff must be eaten after the children have been served.
  C. All meals prepared must be sent to the classrooms.
  D. Production records must be completed prior to each meal or immediately following.



  A. A Child is automatically eligible for free meals while enrolled in the Head Start Program.

Notes:  Head Start children are eligible for free meals each year they are in the program.  Site Managers must sign the Meal Count and Attendance Records by 10:00 A.M. each Monday.   Meal counts must be entered into the database by 10:00 A.M. for breakfast, 1:30 P.M. for lunch, and 4:00 P.M. or no later than 8:00 A.M. the next morning for snack.     





Center staff must participate in the Civil Rights training in February of each year.


New hires must take Civil Rights Program learning training thirty days within their hire date.


Test Questions:

9.  True  False Only the allergy chart in the classroom must be covered.
10.  True  False When a parent informs a Teacher of a child's allergy the Teacher must inform the Nutrition Specialist immediately.
11.  True  False Nutrition Specialists are required to monitor the meal service and must eat with the children weekly.
12.  True  False CACFP records are due near the 20th of the month and are due to the Nutrition Resource Associate on the first of the month.
13.  True  False A birthday cake is to be prepared once a month and is to be served as the snack on the day that the cook selects.
14.  True  False USDA funds cannot be used to purchase food for parent meetings.
15.  True  False Food purchased by our agency cannot be taken home by staff.
16.  True  False April is the designated month for staff to participate in the Programmed Learning Civil Rights training module.
17.  True  False Meal count must be taken at the time meal is served.
18.  True  False If a child is eligible for free meals when he or she enters Head Start they will automatically be eligible as long as he or she remains in Head Start.



After completing this instrument, provide your Staff ID number, click you work "content area" and "job location". Forward to the Training Department. Your name is verification that you have read and understood the content of this module and have completed this learning program in good faith, and are willing to practice the principles outlined.

First Name             Last Name           HSGD Staff ID#        
Your Content Area                Job Location    





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